United StatesIllinois

After $86 billion contraction, state’s economic momentum stalls

A man walks past a retail store that is going out of business due to the coronavirus pandemic in Winnetka, Ill., Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

(The Center Square) – Nearly 25,000 Illinoisans filed for unemployment benefits last week, about 8,500 fewer than the week before, but is the economy on the rebound?

The website WalletHub ranked Illinois fifth in the country for states that have recovered most in the job market since the pandemic began compared to last year.

Karin Kimrough, an economist with Linkedin, said in an interview hosted by Politico that some job sectors have been hit harder than others during the pandemic.

“In terms of this pandemic, the hardest-hit sectors were obviously recreation, travel, entertainment, and some of the sectors that proved more resilient were finance, legal and health care,” Kimbrough said.

During the height of the pandemic and associated state-mandated lockdowns, Illinois’ economy likely shrank by nearly $86 billion in the second quarter. Kimrough said once the lockdowns loosened a bit, the economy started to rebound.

“We saw commensurate pick up in hiring rates right after that, and that’s what we attribute that June acceleration to,” Kimbrough said. “June was a really strong month.”

Congress continues to haggle over another round of stimulus for the country. While Republicans and Democrats are in agreement over providing the new stimulus cash, they are divided over evictions protections and the amount of federal weekly unemployment benefits. Kimbrough said another economic stimulus is imperative especially for lower-income earners, because they typically infuse the money back into the economy more so than higher wage earners.

“They are actually a better accelerator of the recovery than giving it to some other group that is going to save it or invest it,” Kimbrough said.

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